Missing in Action?

Missing in action? Yes, the last time you saw a post was the end of May, and I truly apologize. You are important to me.

But, sometimes life takes us by the hair and drags us wherever it wants. Have you ever felt that way? Well, that’s exactly what happened over the last two months while I was mysteriously ill. Finally, this past Sunday, whatever-it-was let go.

And I’m so glad to be back with you once again!

You all amaze me with your wonderful support. Within the past twenty-four hours, another five-star review of Her Deadly Inheritance appeared on Amazon: “Loved this book! The opening line to the last line keep you turning the page.”

What encouragement as I’m now physically able to work on the edits requested for the second novel by my editor at Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, Darla Crass. Once those edits are approved, LPC will set a release date for this novel. When that happens, I’ll be sure to answer your frequent question, “When is your next novel coming out?”

In the meantime, thank you so much for making Her Deadly inheritance a top-selling novel on Amazon since it came out last year, I’m so grateful to you and to the Lord.

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Aspiring Writer: The Writing Contest

Talk about scary! Enter a writing contest along with so many excellent writers? Yet I was pretty sure this was the next step I was to take on my writing journey. So I prepared to person-frightenedenter …

The Writing Contest

I was clueless.

Only the Lord knew the wonderful surprise he had for me at the 2014 Write-to-Publish Conference.

Years of effort had taught me to do my best with each writing project and take the next step. That’s exactly what I did as I prepared for this conference, hoping I might qualify for the Written World Communications Contest.

The contest was open only to those who met all of the requirements:

  • attend the conference
  • make a one-on-one appointment with the publishing house representative
  • participate one of her evening critique sessions.

But none of that would make a difference if I didn’t first polish my novel.

Two weeks before Write-to-Publish, I set a deadline of ten days to complete that work. I divided the manuscript’s 310 pages and 28 chapters into roughly equal parts and set to work. Nine days later, I finished. For the first time, I believed my novel was not only good—as others had tried to tell me—but the best I could make it. No more niggling doubts.

With the manuscript for Her Deadly Inheritance copied onto a USB drive, I arrived at the conference. That first day whenI met with J. Christine Richards for my one-on-one appointment, she approved my entering the contest and received my USB drive to download my novel to her devise.

The third evening of the conference, I joined her critique group along with six other hopeful writers. When it was over, I left knowing I had done all I could. The outcome was now up to the Lord.

The next evening at the conference banquet, three other big awards were handed out before Chris went to the microphone. She talked about the chosen novel, and mentioned “Beth” and her belief that she might slaughter the author’s last name if she tried begonia-stunnedto pronounce it.

The room fell silent as I looked around expecting some other Beth to get up and receive the award. Then I realized Chris was looking at me. I mouthed, “Do you mean me?”

When she smiled and nodded, I froze in my chair. The dear writer next to me smiled, took my hand, and leaned over to whisper, “You have to go up and receive your award.”

Still stunned, I joined Chris. Then turning my back to the microphone, I whispered, “Are you sure?”

She grinned and nodded.

In that moment, God gifted me with a mentor and an editing coach, the two desires of my writer’s heart. The award also included the possibility of publication, once we completed the chapter-by-chapter editing.

God’s Word says, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” ~ Psalm 34:7, New Living Translation.

***

Dear Reader, do you sometimes wonder if God cares about the longings of your writer’s heart? He does! Please know that at the right time and in the right way, he will give you the desires of your heart. Until then … delight yourself in him and keep moving forward as he leads.

~ Beth

Copyright 2014 Beth Ann Ziarnik

Aspiring Writer: Finding the Agent

Oh, if only we had a good agent. That would make all the difference! But what if after following all the advice and doing our best, it still doesn’t happen. Does that mean we’ll never get an agent? Not necessarily …

The Agent

Wow, Lord! Really? It felt like some incredible dream. I couldn’t have been more surprised.

My left wrist still recovering from being crushed, I stared at the cast that had replaced the external fixator in the steps toward healing since April. It was now Wednesday of the dreams-come-truelast week in June. Lord, what could a one-handed writer do?

Hmmm. I wiggled the index finger on my right hand. Ha! I knew people in the writing industry. Icould invite some of them to link with me on LinkedIn.

Before I knew it, I was chatting online with a well-known and respected agent I had met at several Christian writers’ conferences. At one point Joyce Hart wrote that she was bringing her son into her agency. She needed projects for him to look at and asked, “Do you have any you send me?”

I blinked. Is this you, Lord?

I sent her my list of eight projects, and she chose the romantic suspense novel which would one day be titled Her Deadly Inheritance. One-handed, I spent four days polishing its proposal before e-mailing it to her. Ten days later, Jim Hart sent a message. He loved the sample chapters and wanted to see the whole manuscript.

I blinked again. Was I dreaming?

During the previous eighteen months of submitting my novel’s proposal, two other agents had requested the full manuscript and then passed on it. They were kind enough to include encouraging words about the quality of my writing and my clear understanding of the romantic suspense genre. One even told me to keep my chin up, and I would find that agent who loved my novel.

I did my best to follow her advice but still failed to find that elusive agent who would believe in me and my writing. Someone who would want to partner with me and see my novels published.

Would this be yet another round of encouragement, letting me know I was close but not quite ready? Or …

Well, whatever the Lord had in mind, it wouldn’t hurt to keep moving ahead. Take that next step. I requested two weeks to go over the 80,000 word manuscript one last time—yes, with one hand—and then e-mailed it to him by our agreed-upon deadline.

How merciful the Lord was! He kept me busy with a family camping vacation followed immediately with an out-of-state family wedding. When I returned, a message from the agent waited in my in-box. As I read his most welcome words, my heart almost stopped. He loved my novel and offered representation.

I was in!

Hardly able to believe my eyes, I called in a lot of prayer from friends and family and tried to calm down. Then I sent the agent my phone number and said I would be glad to talk with him. That afternoon, he asked if he could send me a contract, and I told him I would be glad to look it over, but I had a lot of questions. He offered to call me the middle if the contract-signingnext week.

The next day as I prayed about this opportunity, I knew the Lord wanted me to sign that contract. A few days later when the agent called, I let him know I intended to sign the contract. I then ran my questions past him, knowing it’s not wise to sign a contract unless both parties fully understand the agreement. Then I signed the contract, dropped it in the mail, and officially became a client of the Hartline Literary Agency. I danced with joy!

God’s Word says, “A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps” (Proverbs 16:9, King James Version). Without a doubt, the Lord had directed my steps, just as he does for each of us as we seek his will,and no matter what pathway he chooses for us.

* * *

Dear Reader, it may not feel like it now, but your day will come. Keep taking your next step as the Lord directs. The details of how you team with an agent may not be the same as mine, but one day the Lord with bring to pass your agent partnership.

God bless you on your journey.

~ Beth

Copyright 2013 Beth Ann Ziarnik

Aspiring Writer – The Dreaded Fog

Really? I’m not done yet? Like any other writer, we want our words to sing right out of the gate. Well, at least after a few revisons. But what happens when we’ve done all we can, and it’s still not enough to get published?

The Dreaded Fog

But, Lord … I thought it was finished!

I recalled the moment I wrote the final word of my novel and breathed such a sigh of satisfaction! Heroine and hero had lived through dreadful danger and discovered true love. Better yet, they surprised me with the unique way they concluded their story. 

Yet all the rewrites I’d labored on, perfecting the story, were not enough? My novel required yet more work?

Well, I won’t do it. I don’t want to do it. I … sputtered to a stop.writers-fog

To be honest, I simply had no idea what to do next. Following the advice of mountains of books, articles and classes, I’d already put to use everything I learned about writing novels. What more was there?

Confused, I wandered in a fog for two months, doing my best to ignore that troublesome novel. Besides, I had plenty to keep me busy–including my (yea!) new novel.

Yet my first novel, the one that would one day become Her Deadly Inheritance, refused to let go. It waited in silence until I could stand it no more.

Okay, I did want to do whatever it took to bring it to a publishable state, but … was I even capable?

I closed my eyes and sank back in my office chair. Slowly breathing in and out, I sought the answer to my dilemma from the one Source I knew had the solution.

Lord, what will it take? What must I do? Please show me the way through this unfamiliar territory, this terribly dark place.

Words I’d read earlier that morning came back to me.

“I will answer them before they even call on me. While they are still talking to mea-light-in-the-fog about their needs, I will go ahead and answer their prayers” ~Isaiah 65: 24 (The Living Bible, Tyndale House Publishers).

I perked up, suddenly recalling I had ordered a book about revision and self-editing. Was this God’s answer?

Of one thing I was sure. Before I ever called out to God, he saw my need and went  ahead to answer my prayer. Without a doubt, he would also show me the way out of this awful writer’s fog. He would enable me to take my novel to the publishable level. If only I didn’t quit.

***

Dear Reader, many challenges test a writer’s resolve. Are you In a fog? Call out to God, and you’ll find his answer already on its way.

~ Beth

Copyright 2009 Beth Ann Ziarnik09 Beth Ann Ziarnik

Neglected Blog? No More–Let’s Have Fun!

The main speaker startled me in August at the Green Lake Christian Writers Conference. When Wendy K. Walters said, “A neglected blog tells visitors you don’t care” …

I thought my heart would stop._20160826_105519 - 2016 GLCWC

Please accept my apology! I never meant to send you any such message. Not to excuse myself, but I stopped posting only because I didn’t want to waste your time.

Posts should offer you something with meaning and value–something to enrich your life, right?

So, here’s the good news, dear readers! After much searching of my heart, I finally discovered what I truly want to share with you. Things to satisfy your curiosity and, hopefully, spark real conversations between us.

I value you, my novel’s readers. You’ve been so wonderful–buying Her Deadly Inheritance, telling me how much you love it, and sharing your enthusiasm with others. You are a huge blessing! And a huge encouragement. I can’t thank you enough.

Now I want to bless you, too. Obviously, you love reading fiction and are curious about a novelist’s life. When we meet in person, you quickly ask when to expect my next novel and what my life is like now. (Pretty much like yours except that I also write.) And you ask so many interesting questions.

So, what can you look forward to as we chat on my new blog?

  • updates on the progress of my next novel–a lot is happening!
  • behind-the-scenes glimpses of what it’s like to____
  • reviews of terrific new novels by other authors along with my interviews with them

I’ll also:

  • post fun online games we can enjoy together
  • ask your opinion on topics related to writing and reading
  • schedule occasional one-hour Q & A sessions where you can ask me anything about my novels and writing life

And so much more!

But first, here’s your chance to “influence the author.” This blog is for you, so …

What would you like me to write about as an author of Christian romantic suspense?